Red Rock Hounds celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Founded by Lynn Lloyd, the hunt has access to more than 1.5 million acres of public and private land in Nevada. Once a month, Murray and Lloyd pack up their trailers and lead a convoy to territories in California, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming for four-day hunting adventures.
“People travel from all over to experience what Red Rock creates,” says Angela Murray, Jt. Master and huntsman. “Red Rock Hunt is in a league of its own as far as creating destination experiences.”
If you’ve seen photos from any of Red Rock’s hunts, you get it. If you haven’t, it only takes one. But even if majestic images of following stunning hounds across the rugged, mountainous landscapes of the still untamed American West don’t crack your whip, the warm, come-as-you-are vibe just might.
"Overall, we have a very welcoming community in our home territory," Murray says. "I think Lynn started that vibe when she began the hunt 40 years ago. There's no pretense. She wants people to come and learn about the sport, and then fall in love with it."
It’s been that unique spirit that’s helped Red Rock Hounds become a national destination. Officially registered with the Masters of Foxhounds Association in 1980 and recognized in 1987, they’re celebrating 40 years of “feeling the freedom.” What’s more, they’re honoring Lloyd and her adventurous and welcoming spirit that built the club and keeps it growing.
With Her Own Hammer and Nails
Lloyd built the hunt in a region not well-known for foxhunting, let alone English saddles. She had driven across the United States from Pennsylvania with two horses and a dog after her business failed. She ran out of gas in Reno, which is how she found the valley where the club is now based.
“She didn't know anybody in Reno,” Murray says. “She worked for some farms in the area and did training while also searching around the outskirts of Reno for a place of her own. When she had the time and money, she found Red Rock Valley in Rancho Haven and bought her first 10-acre parcel.”
While she made money, she also made connections. She started her pack with 12 hounds from Los Altos Hounds out in California. Then, “with her own hammer and nails and the help of some of her friends,” says Murray, Lloyd built the club’s first kennel and barn on that 10-acre piece of land.
“They started as a club of three with twelve different hounds going twelve different directions,” Murray says. “They made their whips out of chair legs and bailing twine and had their breakfasts in a tiny pink trailer.” Stories like those, says Murray, are only the tip of the iceberg that make up the club’s rich history.
In 1997, Lloyd and Scott Tepper, her Joint Master at the time, bought the 650-acre Rock Creek Ranch, which was one of the original ranches in the valley. Murray joined the hunt fifteen years ago. She grew up hunting with Shakerag Hounds in Hull, Georgia. With her husband in the military, she moved around the country often and experienced a variety of clubs including Woodbrook Hunt Club in Lakewood, Washington, and Mission Valley Hunt in eastern Kansas, among others. She also started a pack of hounds in Fort Carson, Colorado, in 2003. She joined Red Rock when she moved to the area in 2005.
Out West, the Future is Promising
Of all the lands she’s hunted, Murray says the Red Rock experience was more unique than anything she'd seen anywhere else. "We are very blessed with more country than we can even get to," she says. "We try to get to all of it at least every other season. But I think the future is very promising for hunting out west in general, and particularly for Red Rock as a club."
With its welcoming nature, the club’s base of younger professional members and juniors is growing quickly. Most of the juniors who go away to college return later on. Some find a way to stay on throughout. Red Rock’s membership grew by 20% over the past year, and they are soon opening up new country, including 90 sections in Montana.
They also engage the public with their hounds throughout the year and have championed the sport in the region for three decades, including an appearance at the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California.
“There are so many people within the industry nationwide who want to honor Lynn,” Murray says. “We want to do the best job we can to honor her here at our own hunt and celebrate forty years of feeling the freedom with her."